While those who live in the path of the devastating wildfires in California fear for their lives, brave firefighters work to protect property and lives. In many cases, firefighters from other states come to help, as is the case with the Woolsey Fire that erupted on Nov. 8 in Southern California. These workers battle the fires for hours on end without rest, sometimes leading to tragic workplace accidents.
The fact that employee fatalities are so rare in the California wine country might bring about complacency in employers and workers. However, workplace accidents do occur, and it appears the recent death of a worker at a vineyard in Napa is the first since another fatal incident last spring. In that accident, a Fairfield man became trapped underneath a tractor in a vineyard in Sonoma Valley when he was crushed while cleaning an implement on the machine.
Truck operators in the oil and gas industry face many occupational hazards, one of which is fatigue. It might never be known whether fatigue caused a recent fatal crash involving an oilfield bucket truck. The California Highway Patrol reported that this accident happened on Highway 58. A workers' compensation claim will likely be filed by the surviving family members of the young driver who lost his life in this crash. CHP says the accident happened in Kern County.
Drivers hauling hazardous materials put their lives on the line with every trip they undertake. This was recently underscored when a big rig filled with liquefied oxygen exploded in California. Miraculously, no lives were lost in this incident, and only one person was injured. The injured person was the driver of the tanker truck, and his injuries caused a temporary disability.
With record highs in California temperatures this month, all outdoor workers are at risk of suffering heat exhaustion. The surviving family members of a 63-year-old postal worker whose death might have been heat-related will likely seek financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance program of the state. Reportedly, the woman worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 28 years.
A 34-year-old woman who was one of only a few female plumbers working for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission lost her life in an unusual incident on a recent Wednesday afternoon. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation, as it does in all fatal workplace accidents. Sadly, the woman's daughter, who is not even three years old yet, now has to adjust to life without her mother.
Investigators of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health are looking into the death of a tree trimmer in Palo Alto. Although the agency investigates all fatal workplace accidents, those in which the deceased employees worked alone are more challenging because no other workers were around to witness the incidents. Investigators will have to piece together the evidence found on the scene and statements from residents who might have witnessed the fall.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has launched an investigation into the death of a vineyard worker in Sonoma County. Agricultural workers face many life-threatening hazards, and a large number of farm workers die in workplace accidents every year. Reportedly, this incident involved a tractor and mower equipment.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health prescribes safety regulations to deal with just about any work-related hazard an employee in any industry might encounter. However, many dangers are brought about by human nature rather than safety violations. Employees may not even realize how they could be their own worst enemies and put their own lives in danger. Workplace accidents can happen despite compliance with specific safety regulations.
Following the sad news of the death of a Modesto city employee, a spokesperson for the city manager's office said this appears to be the first on-the-job fatality of a city employee. Although the city will conduct an investigation, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will launch a separate inquiry to determine the cause of the worker's death, as it does after all fatal workplace accidents in the state. The deceased man was a 30-year-old maintenance worker.